The Good: Funny, Good character development, Good animation, Sense of originality, Great DVD bonus features
The Bad: Plots do not hold up as well over multiple viewings.
The Basics: Arguably the first “must own” volume of American Dad!, Volume 3 is funny and might just be the best the series has produced (thus far!).
American Dad is one of those shows that took a while to grow on me. When I picked up the second volume of American Dad! (reviewed here!) recently, I found that it was much better than I remembered the episodes being. That was enough to encourage me to pick up Volume 3 of American Dad! on DVD. And it’s pretty wonderful. The bonus features of American Dad! Volume 3 are enough to bring the generally good episodes up to well above-average territory.
The eighteen episode third volume of American Dad! finishes off the second season of American Dad! and features the first eight episodes from the third season. The boxed set illustrates the level of quality in animation American Dad! would achieve. It is a smooth-looking show that follows the Smith family. Led by the CIA agent Stan Smith, American Dad! is an animated comedy with eighteen episodes that follow a pretty standard a-plot, b-plot format and features Stan frequently in conflict with his daughter Hayley and Roger the Alien stepping out more frequently in elaborate disguises.
The humor in American Dad! is much safer than the humor in Family Guy, but it is zany in an unpredictable way that has not been seen on animated comedies since The Simpsons. In the third volume of American Dad!, the main characters have episodic adventures and this season has no real concept episodes (unlike some of the Volumes that follow). In this season, what the main characters in the show do include:
Stan Smith – He gets second place in the CIA essay contest for the President, but gets to spend a night with George W. Bush anyway. After becoming annoyed with Greg and Terry’s undocumented worker, he starts a sweatshop to build his Cele-bear-tions! He gets tired of Hayley not following a traditional path, so he activates her CIA spy training. After apparently killing his fourteenth guy, he reveals that he has never actually killed anyone! When a child molester moves in down the block, he mans up to kill the pedophile. He befriends a right-wing Conservative as extreme as himself . . . who is an atheist, which Stan cannot reconcile himself to. He is forced to become a meter maid as community service, which leads him to corruption to try to please Francine. He is not paying attention and mistakes a CIA apocalypse drill for the real thing, taking the family into the woods to survive! He goes to extreme lengths to keep Francine from saying “I told you so” when his boss kills one of her friends,
Francine – Gets a tour of the Mr. Pibb factory when Stan annoys her. She rejects finding her biological parents when Stan gets annoyed with her Asian adoptive parents. She uses Stan becoming a meter maid to get the house on the local home tour circuit. She is the one who is most upset when Stan is exposed for using CIA goo to get out of the annual vacations with the family! She realizes she has made a terrible mistake when she and Stan divorce so he can play the field and he falls in love with another woman!,
Hayley – Goes toe to toe against George W. Bush after Stan tries to bury her in the house’s bottomless pit. She dates Paco to annoy Stan before Stan hires him to make his bears. She reveals that she had been programmed by Stan as part of a CIA experiment when Stan gets annoyed with her disobedience. In her programmed state, she marries an obviously gay man. On the family vacation, she goes through the most horrible things to survive. She nearly marries a loner when Stan convinces the family that the apocalypse has come and the family runs off into the woods,
Steve – Starts a band with his friends called Steve And The Asstones. He rejects Roger which sends Roger into the hands of an abusive teenager. He starts working for a drug dealer when he is duped by Roger! He begins grifting with Roger, which is horrible for everyone. He becomes obsessed with exposing a peanut conspiracy when he learns that George Washington Carver did not invent peanut butter. He and his friends join Stan on a cattle drive which he is trying to use to man them up,
Klaus – sits in his bowl and makes wisecracks when the writers remember to use him,
and Roger – Becomes obsessed with finding Osama Bin Laden in Washington, D.C. He joins and ruins Steve’s band. He plays a prank on Steve where he gets Steve to believe he has been admitted to Hogwart’s! When Steve plays a minor prank, he exposes the boy to the life of crime through scamming people, which quickly escalates into a full-fledged life of crime for the two. While the family is hiding out in the woods, he manipulates a lonely Jewish woman into marriage so he can get a new blender!
Each episode of American Dad! on DVD in Volume 3 features commentary tracks and there are deleted scenes and featurettes as well. The voice actors in American Dad!, who include Seth and Rachael MacFarlane, Wendy Schaal (Francine), and Scott Grimes (Steve) all have excellent timing for their gags and the latter three, who appear on the commentary tracks alongside directors and writers for the show are very entertaining.
Ultimately, American Dad! is near its most consistently funny on the third volume, making it well worth picking up for the enduring entertainment value.
For other animated works by Seth MacFarlane, please check out my reviews of:
Family Guy Volume 1
Family Guy Volume 2
Family Guy Presents Stewie Griffin: The Untold Story
Family Guy: Live In Vegas
Family Guy Volume 3
Family Guy Volume 4
Family Guy Volume 5
Family Guy Presents Blue Harvest
Family Guy Volume 6
Family Guy Volume 7
Family Guy Presents Something, Something, Something Dark Side
Seth MacFarlane's Cavalcade Of Cartoon Comedy
Family Guy Volume 8
Family Guy Presents Partial Terms Of Endearment
Family Guy Presents It's A Trap!
Family Guy Volume 9
Family Guy Volume 10
American Dad! - Volume 1
For other television reviews, please check out my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!
© 2013 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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